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In the United Kingdommarker, a retail park is a grouping of many retail warehouses and superstores with associated car parking. Its North American equivalent is a power centre. Retail parks are found on the fringes of most large towns and cities in highly accessible locations and are aimed at households owning a car. They offer an alternative to busy city centres. Such developments have been encouraged by cheaper more affordable land on the outskirts of towns and cities, and with loose planning controls in a number of Enterprise Zones, making planning and development very easy. However, in more recent years, in many areas across the UK, planning controls have been tightened up in order to preserve the countryside. This has made it harder for such developments to go ahead, resulting in many smaller, more compact retail parks, sometimes only consisting of about three or four stores being built on former brownfield sites. There are also environmental disadvantages to large retail parks on the rural fringe, including the increased traffic and pollution that occurs in getting there.

Typically they host a range of chain stores, including supermarkets, clothes or footwear superstores, electrical stores, carpet and others. Owing to their out-of-town sites, abundance of free parking and proximity to major roads, retail parks are often easier to reach than central shopping areas, and as a result often take away trade from city centre retailers.

See also

  • In North America, a strip mall is a small grouping of retail stores that share parking but have separate entrances, and a power centre is a complex of several big-box stores and strip malls, similar to the retail park.


  1. JSTOR - abstract from retail park report

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